It has been almost a fortnight that I am out of touch from this blog-world...not exactly out-of-touch as I managed to sneak some time to read blogs flashing my reader but was really dormant about commenting and writing new post. Reason was primarily array of guests in my house. Anyway, all these days my blogging fingers were itching to pen down my thoughts on a topic about which I read some fabulous posts written by my favorite bloggers recently. You can read them here:
Although I want to write so many things about this sensitive topic of parenting but somewhere inside I feel scared & apprehensive as well. I mean I am yet to be aware of my parenting style as Mishti is only a year old. But one thing I am sure about is that my tolerance level to deal with nonsense is quite low. I am not a parenting expert and has my own doubts regarding the various shades of 'Letting Go' in parenting. I would like to quote RM's words here:
If you give too much freedom, the child becomes a brat, if you don't give freedom, the child becomes a recluse.
Now this is something I dread of. I must admit here that I am kinda 'control freak' but in a different sense. Sometimes I do feel that I tend to influence other's thought process & decisions.....and I do this very convincingly without even offending the other person!!! So, with this trait of mine I always scare of crossing that fine line of 'giving & not giving' freedom to Mishti.
As I write about 'freedom in parenting' here, it remains incomplete if I do not mention the way I & my sis were brought up. My dad defied all our relatives & people around us with his parenting style. We were groomed from very childhood to speak our mind & perceive and experience the world outside with our own eyes. Hand-holding was minimal at our household. But it never meant that we were left alone to go haywire.Although I have to digress from the actual point but would like recall few things which are ingrained inside me.
This incident happened when I was very young (might be about 6-7 years) and I am astonished that how I still remember it. In our town, the 'kabadi wala' ( scrap-dealer) would ferry with his cart in residential by-lanes and buy the clutters from people. To make people aware of their presence they would shout at the top of the voice in a very mechanical tone .."Kabaaaadi wallllee". One day, I was found shouting in the same manner mockingly. Immediately I was called by my dad who asked me to stop that nonsense and then explained me how that person is doing it for his livelihood.....how we should not look down any profession...and how "koi kaam chhota nahin hota".
In my home, we (me & my sis) never ever vent out our anger on food. It was unimaginable for us to skip meals to blackmail parents to make them succumb to any of our demands.
It was so nicely inculcated by my parents to not to form any opinion about something or somebody with other's version. Like many other family even they had their difference of opinion with some of the relatives but we kids, were never taught to disrespect them by painting a negative image of theirs. We grew up and understood ourselves that who is what!
My dad has been blamed with giving too much freedom to his daughters which everybody felt would result in a spoilt set of of 'loose sisters'. But to people's dismay we faired well than those who were kept protected and sheltered always. I am really thankful to my parents for bringing us up giving enough freedom and let us learn from our experiences.Few times I felt really bad like when I had to go all alone to the cycle-shop to get it mended or when I had stand in the long-queue of my college to deposit the fees while parents of other girls of my age did these chores themselves, but now I realise how much these small experiences helped me in developing my personality.
Anyway, coming back to the topic. I am not very sure about this 'letting go' thing....but one thing I am sure that I want Mishti to be self reliant and would try my best to help her in that. One of my friend stayed with me for few days lately with her two kids ( aged 10 years & 4 months respectively). Now this elder one was brought up in her maternal grand parent's place till she was 5 years old. This kid was the worst case of 'picky eater' I have ever seen. She took more than 1.5 hours to finish her each meal and would chew only when her mom would mix the food for her. Her mom would brag how this kid frowns if the lunch menu is normal Dal-Rice - Veggies and how she tries her best to vary the menu everyday with idlis/pasta/dosa/pav-bhaji. I know it is too early for me to comment on this situation as I am yet to experience the kids of similar age in my household. But somehow, I am not very comfortable with this situation. For me, I can prepare all these stuffs once in a while or might be in breakfast/snack but they can never be traded with proper lunch.I also found the kid munching on some chips packet just before dinner and yes she literally struggled to finish her dinner. My friend & her kid offered those chips to Mishti as well which I politely refused and found my friend make a pity face for Mishti (as if Bechaari Mishti ...she got a tyrant mom who deprives her from the tasty foods of this world!!!).
On the other hand, as I take Mishti to the housing -complex lawn in evening and let her play with other kids, sometimes she rolls on the grass..which I let her do or even some other kid of same age group try to play with her (mind it...their playing includes sudden hugging or mild pushing or pulling other's dress) , I let her play that till the time it is safe. There are many ladies who act as referee for their kids or just ferry them in lap to avoid rolly-polly on grass!! I know, I am criticized behind my back about my parenting style. While they discuss how they managed to force feed their kids I simply keep myself out of discussion as I disapprove this force feeding and generally start eating my lunch if Mishti is creating too much fuss with her food...and believe me, 90% of times she comes back and has her food with me. They think about me as quite 'Chillax' kind of mom!!
However, at times now I have started showing off my 'disciplinarian' avatar. Mishti has already started throwing tantrums and shrieking & crying loud to get her demands fulfilled. That day, when my friend was still at my place Mishti behaved this way. My sis took out a bottle from refrigerator and Mishti wanted that...my sis poured some water in her sipper and gave her but she started shrieking to get that bottle. My friend asked my sis to give it to her for sometime as she would get distracted soon to something else....but I intervened and kept back that bottle in refrigerator. Mishti continued howling and crying but I did not complied to her 'Zid'.
I feel that we cannot let the kid get away with their will as she is too young. We just cannot get up some day and start with our discipline regime....it has to be there from the beginning to avoid sending confusing signals to the child.
Concluding my post with some nice words by Scribby :
So, push or pull or both in balance,what you do with your child really matters in the long run and the learning starts from parents,so there!